WISP Marketing 101

Marketing your WISP is the single most important thing you can do to grow your business. Ubiquiti has created a program that will kick start your marketing efforts by supply you with collateral materials customized for your company as well as investing in a marketing awareness campaign called the Ubiquiti World Network. “We’re running a national ad campaign to help WISPs compete with the phone and cable companies. Register to get listed and get free customized ads to build on that momentum.”

Step 1 – Sign up for the Ubiquiti World Network.

Step 2 – Begin small utilizing the yard signs.

We advise putting the yard signs in places where people are stopped, especially in the mornings on their way to work. For example, a major intersection where cars from a subdivision you can serve have to stop every morning on their way to work is excellent. Simply place the sign where the car stopped and waiting on traffic can see it. Remember not to put it too high, out of view but do not stake it to the ground or it will get damaged by mowers. Instead, we prefer to mount these yard signs (24″ x 18″ is a minimum and effective size) using roofing cap nails and nail them to a fence post or pole.

Step 3 – Door Hangers

Print out the door hangers and place one on the front door of every install with a hand written note saying something like thanks for being our customer. I circled our phone number in case you have questions. Also, hang one on each neighbor on tha street. It only takes a second and will pay big dividends.

Step 4 – More yard signs

At every install, ask the homeowner if you can put a yard sign in their yard for one week. Offer something of small value in return like a free month of service if anyone calls and mentions they saw the sign. Again, creativity will pay off in more installs.

Step 5 – More flyers

Spend a Sunday afternoon hanging door hangers on every home in a community you want to server. We always made it a family affair and paid the kids with ice cream while they did the footwork. Also, people are reluctant to be rude to kids when they walk onto their porch to hang the flyer.

Step 6 – Radio and TV

When your budget allows, consider a radio or television ad. Ads on the local cable channel cost much less than the larger stations. Always keep the ad simple, short and make sure you give at least two opportunities to contact you in the ad. Marketers call these “calls to action.”

This is the basis of a good start-up marketing plan. It isn’t based on textbook philosophies, but rather on what has worked for us and helped grow our WISP faster than we imagined.

Finally, remember the best marketing is word of mouth and doing a good job. Take care of your customers and they will send more leads your way than you could ever buy with your best marketing plan.

Upgrading Ubiquiti UniFi Controller On Linux

I have used the Ubiquiti UniFi product since it first came out and have watched the evolution with excitement because I believe the AP/Controller concept is the future of indoor wireless.

Ubiquiti has done it in their usual fashion by making powerful products affordable and UniFi is no different.  With UniFi, you need a UniFi controller in place to fully utilize the statistical and maintenance features that make it so different than anything else at this price point.

That being said, to truly get the controller cost down, you have to use Linux to avoid the Microsoft bloat and licensing costs.  If you aren’t using Debian or Ubuntu and have decided to roll your own with some other flavor of Linux like Centos, upgrading the UniFi software may not be totally obvious from the documentation so I will help you out.

Assuming you are running Centos.  First, everything should be living in /usr/lib/UniFi. That directory should look like this:


The important directory is the data directory, everything else is installed with the upgrade. Therefore, make a backup of the data directory however you wish, but I recommend using tar like this:

tar -zcvf data.tar.gz /usr/lib/UniFi/data

This will create a tar.gz file in the /usr/lib/UniFi directory.  Next you need to download the new UniFi binaries from Ubqiuiti. They are found HERE.

Because you have to accept the terms of their license agreement, using wget isn’t an option here so download to your laptop and then scp or ftp the zip file to your controller and place in the /usr/lib directory.  Change the current UniFi directory to something else like this:

# mv UniFi UniFi-old

Then, unzip the new version in the directory /usr/lib.  it should unzip itself as a directory named “UniFi”.

# cd /usr/lib
# unzip UniFi.unix.zip

When the unzip operation is done, change to the newly created directory and rename the data directory like this:

# cd /usr/lib/UniFi
# mv data data-dist

Then move your data tar file back to the proper directory:

# mv /usr/lib/data.tar.gz UniFi

Finally, restore your valuable data:

# tar -zxvf data.tar.gz

Unzip the file like this:

# tar -zxvf data.tar.gz

At this point you should be able to start the unifi controller and have an upgraded version with your old data still intact.  Good luck!